Posts Tagged ‘campaign’

40K Campaigning: Mission 1
40K Campaigning: Mission 1 avatar

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

40K Campaigning: Mission 1


It’s time to kick off my sample 40K campaign, the Jailbreak at Khasak Prime! This plot will pit a group of valiant eldar (or dastardly eldar, depending on your viewpoint) as they venture deep behind enemy lines to recover their captured farseer from the clutches of the torturous orks (or handsome and heroic orks, depending on your viewpoint). If the eldar don’t free the farseer, then the orks will exploit the information they get from him to launch a devastating counter attack.

The flow of this mission will center on the activities of the eldar, but won’t always present them as the “attacker” and the orks as the “defender”. Rather, the nature of the missions will change to reflect the success or failures of the campaign. This may mean that the eldar easily push past the ork defenses, gaining direct access to the prison; it may also mean that the orks thwart their plans, putting them on a desperate chase to infiltrate the prison in what may be a suicide mission. Half the fun will be telling the story, so let’s get started!


The first thing I did was create the branching ladder of missions for the campaign, based on what actions I felt the eldar and orks would be forced to take depending on the results of an introductory mission to set the stage.

The victor will be the player that gets the most Campaign Points (CP) at the end of the campaign. The missions grow in size throughout the campaign, as each force commits more forces to the cause. This will ensure that the climax of the campaign is dramatic and full of action:

Ground Rules:

  • Each player chooses a named character from their codex, this character will be used only in the final missions of the game. Until that time, they are assumed to be at the ork prison either initiating or suffering “coercive interrogation techniques”.
  • Each player chooses an HQ choice for their army; this HQ will become the “character” for the duration of the campaign. This unit should be named and given some pizzazz for fun. In effect, this unit will be the protagonist of the story.
    • The ork character will be a rowdy warboss who leads a gang of war bikers in the desert of Khasak Prime.
    • The elder character will be the cunning Nolrandir, talented farseer and pupil to Eldrad.
  • Players are not required to use the same lists from mission to mission, but are encouraged to carry over many units to develop a personality for their force and take advantage of veteran abilities. Also, using the same units gives us the chance for grudge matches and bragging rights!


Opening Mission: Eldar Infiltration

1,000 points


The Eldar taskforce is stealthily inserted behind ork lines and must eliminate the ork sentries which guard their way to the prison.


The eldar player marks the center of his long board edge, then measures a 12” radius from that point—this hemisphere is his deployment zone.

The eldar strike force must incapacitate the desert perimeter!

The ork deployment zone is everywhere else on the board. Players take turns placing 3 objectives in the ork deployment zone at least 12” from the eldar deployment zone and any board edge or other objective. The ork player then deploys his units within 12” of any of these objectives, but may not be within 12” of an eldar unit. The elder player deploys second.

Reserves come from the owning player’s long board edge.

Primary Objective—Watchtower Control (5 CP)

The player who controls the most objectives at the end of the game receives 5 CP.

Secondary Objective—Hamper Mobility (2 CP)

If a player destroys or immobilizes all of the opposing player’s vehicles that have a transport capacity, that player gains 2 CP. If a player has no vehicles, the opposing player automatically gains this objective.


Bonus Ork Objektive—“He’s Wanted!” (3 CP)

After deployment but before the game begins, the eldar player nominates one of his exarchs or HQ models to be an individual associated with the captured special character, thus having an ork bounty on his head. If the nominated model is destroyed, the ork player gains 3 CP.

Bonus Eldar Objective—“Fast and silent, brothers.”(variable CP)

You receive 1 CP for every ork unit destroyed in close combat.

Turn Order:

Roll off to choose to go first or second.

Game Length:

Random turn end.

Special Rules:

Infiltrate. Night fight.

The objectives count as area terrain.

Each objective is mounted with a searchlight. At the beginning of a controlling players shooting phase, the searchlight negates the night fight rule for one turn of shooting against a single enemy unit within 48”.

NEXT WEEK: The results and rules for MISSION 2

40K Campaigning
40K Campaigning avatar

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Since one of the most fun aspects of the 40K hobby is reveling in the game’s morally ambiguous and gothic universe, it is only natural to attach narratives or backgrounds to the battles we wage. I find that creating a cohesive flow of missions can go a long way in giving a realistic feel to games, making victory, losses, and events a sense of purpose.

 Here are some observations I’ve made on how to make a campaign work.

Dig into the lore in your codex and find something that appeals to you. These ideas are meant to be basic so that you can apply any army’s flavor to it easily. Keep in mind that a good campaign should never have a one-sided story; in other words, there needs to be a goal for both players. One player shouldn’t be sidelined to portraying a one-dimensional villain to the other player’s heroic army—both players should have a story element which drives their play throughout the missions. Here are a few iconic plots:

  • Territories: War engulfs entire continents as the two armies battle for land and resources.
  • Siege: One army launches an all out attack against an enemy stronghold. Missions recreate various aspects of the siege.
  • Unexpected Threat: An army explores a planet previously thought uninhabited, but in reality is occupied by a secret force of an enemy army. One army must escape the planet before the opponent can capture them and use their resources against them in future battles.
  • Old Enemies: The two leaders of the armies have faced each other before, and wage a war of vendetta with the only goal being to personally kill the other. Battles emphasize elite subterfuge and board-clearing annihilation.
  • Behind Enemy Lines: A small strike force of one army infiltrates the opposing army’s lines on a covert mission. These battles recreate the steps the strike force must take to succeed on their mission—or escape with their lives.

Consider how many games you want the campaign to span. Since 40K games take hours to resolve, it’s better to keep things concise. Four to five games is about right, since it gives you room for variety, but also keeps the focus of the story. Also, vary the size of the lists in these battles to emphasize different mission types and strategy—and for the sake of variety!

The best campaigns I’ve played in follow a branching “tree” organization, which gives you an ordered structure but allows for the narrative of the campaign to adapt based on the results of missions. To prepare for this, get a basic idea of what the story is, then develop a logical series of missions based on the results of mission types. For example, after an Annihilation-type mission, the next mission might pose one army as pursuing the fleeing army. The winner of Annihilation game is trying to cut of their escape, while the loser of the Annihilation game is simply trying to get off the board.

 Missions, Objectives, and Scoring:
One of the coolest things about campaigns is that it’s a perfect excuse to play unique mission types. Getting creative here changes a lot in how the game plays, and allows you to create unique lists which you might not normally use in a straight Kill Point game.

 One thing that becomes important is the scoring of the missions. It’s generally not advisable to keep the score limited to wins:losses, because one player may jump ahead early on which will make subsequent games irrelevant. Rather, use a point-based system which gives room for players to accumulate points without necessarily “winning” the mission. This will allow players to turn losses into success in the long term, as well as offer the possibility to keep the campaign’s score more competitive for the game’s duration.

 Another fun consideration is applying veteran abilities to your units which will carry through the story. These are listed on page 263 of the hardcover 40K rulebook, and are a lot of fun because they can give your units a personality and legacy.

 Weird Stuff:
Campaigns are the perfect excuse to create your own unique rules and mission types, so get creative. So long as the new rules are balanced for fairness they can add a lot to your campaign. Exploding objectives, hidden units, special equipment, shifting terrain… it’s all fair game.

 In the coming weeks I’ll be posting a model campaign, along with story elements and new missions you could use for your own games! Until then, find some cool elements in your codex to start generating ideas for a plot!

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